Williams to be honored at AFI Gala tribute event on Thursday, June 9; TNT to premiere 'AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to John Williams' June 15
Steven Spielberg will present John Williams with the American Film Institute's 44th Life Achievement Award. This marks the first time in AFI history that America's highest honor for a career in film will be bestowed upon a composer.
Williams' career will be celebrated at the private gala tribute on June 9 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The televised special, "AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to John Williams," will air on TNT on Wednesday, June 15 (10 p.m. ET/ PT), followed by an encore presentation on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on Monday, June 12, during a night of programming dedicated to Williams.
This marks the fourth year the Emmy-winning AFI special has aired on Turner networks.
Spielberg received the 23rd AFI Life Achievement Award in 1995. Together, he and Williams have collaborated on more than 25 projects, including "Jaws" (1975), "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), "Jurassic Park" (1993), "Schindler's List" (1993), "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), "Catch Me If You Can" (2002), "Lincoln" (2012) and the upcoming "The BFG" (2016).
Williams' storied career as the composer behind many of the greatest American films and television series of all time boasts more than 150 credits across seven decades. Whether epic in scale, jazz-infused, or intimate and personal, his music has helped define over half a century of the motion picture medium. Three of Williams' scores landed on AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores - a list of the 25 greatest American film scores of all time - including the unforgettable score to "Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope" (1977), which ranks No 1. Williams holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations of any living person (50), and has won five Oscars.
The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI board of trustees in 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI board:
"The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time."
Most recently, the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award tribute brought together the film community to honor Steve Martin. AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Mel Brooks (2013) presented the award, while Dan Aykroyd, Jack Black, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Queen Latifah, Conan O'Brien, Amy Poehler, Carl Reiner, Sarah Silverman, Lily Tomlin and many others, including past honorees Tom Hanks (2002) and Meryl Streep (2004), paid tribute to Martin in an evening filled with laughter, music and cheer.